Liberating Our Gardens
Cultivate a special garden space to grow your own healing essence remedies.
Flower essences are beloved by millions yet traditionally prepared by only a few. My personal experiences with flower essences began in the summer of 1972. I was fifteen and spending my school vacation in a microscopic Northern California town with a minister and his wife.
They were strong family friends. Through their efforts to provide an acceptable social life I met a somewhat melancholy Plutonic world traveler who gifted me with a homemade almond essence. He didn’t explain how to use it, or why I’d want to, but only stressed his observation of my clear affinity for the blooming trees.
Instinctively I applied the essence like a perfume to my pulse points. Later in the same summer, in an unbearably hot Santa Rosa waiting room, I happened upon an abandoned copy of Dr. Bach’s printed work in its 1933 form. In a subsequent span of two and a half decades I never seriously considered the possibility of creating my own flower medicines even though I employed them frequently.
When I finally began preparing essences seven years ago I lived in a fairly typical turn-of-the-last-century suburban neighborhood. Its sleepy and partially abandoned quality made it an ideal candidate for breaking through the glass ceiling of established flower medicine-making principles. At the time I was ill enough to be unemployed and chronically strapped for cash. Every flower remedy I purchased required a sacrifice in another part of the family budget.
For many people, beginning the journey towards self-created flower remedies will be a relatively simple matter of opening their heart in a new way. Indeed, forging a cosmically openhearted cooperative link with the natural elements of our immediate environment isn’t a new story by any means. What I’ve learned, after nearly fifty planet-side years as a very dedicated plant reader, is that the human/garden relationship never loses its thrall. When someone first discovers the miracle of eating food they planted and tended to a point of delicious fruition, it can be as profound and life affirming as witnessing a baby’s birth. The first time a person honors the powerful dandelion medicine spirit by welcoming garden “volunteers” with the ambition of turning the plants into a healing tincture, they also begin a cycle of taking what must later be returned.
The Soul Of A Garden
People frequently ask me what I consider the most important part of preparing a personal garden space for flower essence co-creation. I nearly always mention the construction or re-dedication of a centrally located earth medicine altar. This is the place where all acts of symbolic reciprocity can be actualized. To this end it’s also the spot where substances taken from the earth are later returned. This altar provides a sacred resting place for the spent flowers of mother stocks and any reserve essence water that can’t be returned to the direct base of the plant that gave its blossoms. It will also be the place to say prayers of gratitude and abundance. It’s often the most compelling location for small offerings of appreciation and pure love.
To begin preparations for dedicating the space, stand in the middle of your gardening space and holding a well-grounded state of meditative focus. It’s especially relevant and helpful to open the sole and palm chakras as well as all the attendant secondary heart chakras and your sacred throat meridians. In this state of illuminated surrender, send your prayers of readiness to learn through divine guidance. Ask for this level of help in preparing your growing space for an intensified healing purpose. Also ask what you need to do at a practical level to ensure your balanced place in the cooperative web of co-creative energy.
Our practical human role as a balancing agent is likely to change frequently. Sometimes we’ll be focused on very concrete matters such as upping the phosphorus content of the soil. Not infrequently a nearby guardian tree would like a windchime or some other token of loving appreciation. Quite often our plans don’t move forward until we honor the request.
Over time I’ve found that the outer borders of new and established garden beds love to receive a blessing-gift of mixed cornmeal and dried rose petals. You can easily start raising the general energy level of your gardening space if you begin making a practice of saying your daily prayers within the garden’s physical space. The same principles and practical advice applies to container gardeners.
Folks who are new to flower medicine co-creation might want to begin by focusing their initial attempts on a very small bit of space. Containers can actually be preferable at these beginning stages. I’ve found it’s also important to proceed with the awareness that your garden may show a decided unwillingness to be photographed during its energetic alignment process.
Where And What To Plant
When I first began preparing flower essences from my garden beds I learned that the most important part of the journey related to my ongoing faith that my cooperative partners would indeed cover my back. A lot of everyday miracles are possible within this kind of collective energetic resource but I don’t advocate pushing the envelope too far.
For instance I rarely advise on-site essence work for those who live in metropolitan areas unless they have access to a community garden with a strongly established love-grounded energy. Likewise, creating essences in public parks is inadvisable because the flowers are often so heavily impacted by a very wide range of free-roaming spiritual energies. With this in mind I encourage city dwellers to form their initial bonds with flowers in their daily local landscape, then get their psychic and practical radar working so they can locate more countrified relatives of the same healing allies. This can also be an effective way of privately producing the essences that make it most easy for you to live comfortably in an energetically chaotic environment.
Corn silk is an excellent example of such a remedy. It’s a standard inclusion within most commercial North American essence repertories. One of corn essence’s most utilized properties relates to its usefulness for city dwellers. Contemplation of a healthy ear of corn makes it obvious that the plant’s energetic medicine is reflective of many healthy individual parts packed tightly together to make a nourishing and luminous whole. Additionally, corn is a sacred plant in many indigenous cultures. This gives the overall medicine spirit’s vibration an elevated frequency caused by its long-revered association with our species. Many people report that this essence promotes contact with Grandmother or Grandfather spirits and is helpful as a way of healing dis-connection from cultural roots. For people who tend to yearn romantically for an attachment to spiritual cultures beyond their personal root system, corn essence is useful for re-connecting them to their root system of origin and feeling less frantic for peace/wisdom/illumination from another culture that is very often overly romanticized.
“Everybody who has a tomato plant also has a first class start to their energetic medicine chest.” This belief is oft-stated by a close spiritual colleague. Tomato essence is, indeed, a good ally for tough as well as interesting times since tomato is a very classic remedy for breaking down physical resistance to the healing process. This particular blossom has a reputation for breaking through toxic residue and energetic paralysis or atrophy. Many who travel as a way of life love the tomato remedy as a “foolproof” guard against jet/time lag energy dissipation.
Tips For Creating Your Garden Space
- Approach your existing garden space, or the one that lives mainly in dreamtime, and ask it very specifically what it has to offer you in the realm of essence preparation.
- Seeds used in an essence garden should be treated as sacred objects from the moment they arrive in one’s possession. I recommend storing seed packets on altars. You might even sleep with the packets or catalogs tucked into your pillowcase, especially if you’re working to develop an open channel to plant medicine-making dreamtime. For intuitive flower selection, swerve into first instincts rather than away from them.
- Container gardens benefit enormously from the planting of a large healing stone as one of the vessel’s drainage chips. I usually recommend bloodstone for intensely healing ambitions of a personal or professional nature. Jade, adventurine and moss agate are always very solid choices as well. Hematite and amethyst is a nice mix as an offering from those who wish to have more direct and sustained contact with nature spirit guides.
Alicia Russell-Smith teaches flower and earth medicine studies.